Column: How far can Ohio State go in claiming the power of the star of other shows?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olaf and Jameson Williams in the final district in the 2021 College Football Playoff Championships tells the story of the 2022 NFL Draft — or at least the narrative that Ohio State wants to tell.

It’s been a big night for the receivers in general, but the overall 10-11-12 selection from Wilson, Olaf and Williams to the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions leaves plenty to unload — most notably because, as hinted at in the opening game, they once lined up in Totally facing Ohio.

For starters, the trio’s success is a testament to Ohio state-level reception coach, Brian Hartline, who, in just a few seasons, has made Columbus the destination for top receiving talent from across the country. That pipeline continued into its next generation, as we saw at the Rose Bowl in January with Jaxon Smith-Njigba smoothly stepping into the role of #1 receiver.

There’s also Ohio State’s continued success in the draft in general – a story this draft helped perpetuate. The Buckeyes have had at least one first round in every draft since 2016, and the show has an FBS record of 87 first-round picks.

Despite all the successes of this year’s draft, this narrative also begs the question of how much Ohio State can continue to tap the talent of individual players who haven’t finished their collegiate careers in Columbus—something that would have seemed completely out of the question in just a few. . seasons ago.

However, in 2022, this phenomenon is not far-fetched, nor is it uncommon. Ohio State fans have been calling Joe Borough as a member of the Buckeye Nation despite leaving for LSU in 2018 after graduating from Ohio State — a solid reason why he counts the ranks if there ever was one. Now, we can add Williams to the list. It’s a scenario that will only continue to get complicated as the transfer portal continues as more players will spend time with multiple programs during their college career.

On the flip side, it seems clear that Ohio State fans rarely give credit to a player’s past program he moved on. There is some condescension there, but there is also a consideration that, as the elite of elite programs, Ohio State is worth a lot. To the credit of making the inside player the stage and setup to be successful.

That narrative doesn’t hold when we look at players like Alumni transfer player Noah Ruggles of North Carolina, but even as Alumni moved, the story of Ruggles’ time in Columbus still contains the element he initially wanted to come to Ohio State and his grandfather were season ticket holders. .

Likewise, we also tell ourselves that players like Williams and the Boroughs who transition to other elite programs — Alabama and LSU, for example — trade new positions with other great programs, so we can assume that Ohio State played a large role in their development. Again, this is the narrative we repeat to ourselves when times are good.

Perhaps looking at players who were not in Ohio State can help us understand this situation. For example, will Oklahoma continue to claim Caleb Williams is urgent? What about NC/Wisconsin and Russell Wilson?

Russell Wilson presents a rare case of a player that can give us hindsight in this rapidly evolving mode, as the Graduate Transfer mode is noticeably more straightforward but similar to the chaos of the Transfer Gate. Players play for an extended period of time in their college school program before concluding playing elsewhere. For Big Ten fans, the focus for Wilson is “somewhere” he landed – Wisconsin – while for others it may be North Carolina, where he spent the first several years of his college career. In many ways, there appears to be less hard feelings with graduate transfers.

Like Williams, Borough didn’t leave anyone in Ohio swinging when he moved on. Dwayne Haskins had effectively supported GT Barrett in 2017 when the Burrow was injured, and Haskins was knocked out at the helm of the three-way quarterback competition in the spring of 2018. Haskins was continuing his impressive season in 2018 before Justin Fields moved on. From Georgia in 2019 – a move no one was crazy about.

That’s a long way of saying that there were no hard feelings when Boro left.

Fields, of course, is the opposite of Burrow, having played limited shots in his solo season with the Bulldogs before moving to Ohio State. However, like Boroughs and Williams, Ohio State fans unequivocally claim Fields is one of them.

Admittedly, this “claim” also translates to exceptional support. When Williams fell through with an injury in this year’s College Football Extension Final, Buckeye Nation collectively held his breath and hoped it wasn’t too dangerous. Like Burrow, we all seem to have a weak spot for Williams and want him to succeed, even if he goes to SEC school.

Of course, even the most loyal Ohio fan can be fickle at times. We accept that Williams wouldn’t have had as much of a breakout season in Columbus if he had split the catch with Olaf and Wilson. Would our feelings for Williams be so positive if the Ohio State receptionist wasn’t quite as talented last season? We know what we’re going to do: we’ll call him a traitor.

There is also a consideration of some unofficial departures from Ohio for the transit gate that is not much loved by Ohio fans. A mid-season transfer for linebacker K’Vaughan Pope comes to mind. It’s hard to imagine Ohio fans cheering him on in the same way they did with the parted Williams — and then again, profanity tweets about the team in the first half may have contributed to those tough feelings.

No matter how we feel, Burrow didn’t say he went to Ohio State when he does his voiceover for Sunday Night Football. Perhaps few would care as he started his career in Ohio. So why is it so important to us, especially when we have so many other proof points?

At the end of the day, Ohio State is embarrassed by the riches, and perhaps it can press the claim of players who haven’t actually finished their college careers in Columbus. There is no shortage of validation points for the software, and the previous draft was no exception. Two high receivers in the first round should be sufficient evidence of the strength of the program.

Then again, there is no reason not To continue showing that photo of Olaf, Wilson and Williams at every opportunity.

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